Dinner threatened to be a disaster but turned out delightful instead. In planning our trip to the Hudson Valley, we had made electronic reservation for the American Bounty restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America. When we arrived at the CIA, however, there was no record of our reservation and the restaurant was full. Unable to accommodate us at the American Bounty, the staff there called the Escoffier, the French restaurant of the CIA, which was able to seat us. The CIA restaurants are staffed by faculty (supervising) and students. The dinner was delightful. The servers, who are students training for careers in the food-service industry, especially as chefs. While they are learning and don't always get things right, they bring much more energy and interest to their jobs than the staff at just about any restaurant you will try. Servers are eager to engage in discussions about food, wine, service traditions in other countries. The enthusiasm was infectious. The food was very good, of a quality usually to be found in larger cities not smallish towns. And the wine list by the glass was small but well curated, with several interesting selections. The evident interest the servers and cooks take in learning the craft in which they will spend their careers made this a memorable and highly enjoyable evening, despite the bumpy start. We all know America is in the midst of a food revolution, and the CIA has been in the forefront of that. Based on the meal we ate in the CIA's traditional, European-style dining room, we can say with confidence that the future of American dining is in good hands. If you are in the area, go!
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